Since this blog is about Big Apple eats, I feel compelled to address Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.
From Sunday evening to Thursday night, I spent most of my time (save maybe 3 hours I spent at the gym) in my comfortable midtown high-rise with my roommate, who I’ve known for over 10 years now. We overly prepared on Sunday night and even packed go-bags that we stowed near the door in case one of our windows blew out and it got too cold or dangerous. For a while on Monday afternoon, we got really freaked out because the wind was rattling our windows but besides a few flickers of light, we didn’t lose power. I complained to my friend Kim that I was bored and started to clean my iHome stereo with a toothpick and reorganized my closet since I really had nothing else to do and was tired of watching the news. It wasn’t until I finally left my apartment today and saw the condition of the rest of the City that I realized how fortunate I was.
On Monday morning, I dropped and broke my homemade butter dish. After the initial shock wore off, I was actually really upset that the butter dish I had used almost every day and made with my own two hands was gone. I would never get it back. I thought about re-creating the same butter dish but knew it wouldn’t make up for the real thing (but really, where would I find another cow stencil?).
I painted it with love with my good friend Beth who has since moved out of the city. It’s one of my vivid “City” memories with her before she moved to the ‘burbs and became a mama!
I decided to go to work this morning mostly because I was going stir-crazy. I took a bus from 54th and Lex that dropped me off almost literally in front of my office door. We traveled south to the Manhattan Bridge while going through the darkened and quiet downtown. It was eerie. The traffic lights were obviously off and there were at least 2 police officers at every intersection, directing traffic. I couldn’t help but think of the selfless NYPD who most likely haven’t had much of a break and were probably shivering from the early morning chill. Once I got to work, we heard that some of our students, who didn’t have much to begin with, had lost everything in Staten Island and Queens. All of their belongings – clothes, photo albums, furniture – were gone. Not only are they mourning the loss of sentimental possessions but some families don’t even have the means to replace a lot of what they lost. Here I was, upset about my butter dish when just a few miles away, fellow New Yorkers were losing everything.
The commute home was even scarier. Parts of the city were completely in the dark. Living in the city for so long and so near Times Square, I forget what pitch darkness is like. The city, usually so bustling, seemed completely desolate.
I still can’t fully comprehend the devastation some people experienced and continue to experience because of the hurricane. Everything they’ve owned and known are gone. Childhood memories, adult memories, future hopes of memories being built in the home they grew up in, the home they just bought with their life savings, the home they just started to make their own – gone.
I know that these challenges aren’t unique in any way and people go through this almost often around the world but living in the northeast for most of my life and not being exposed to extreme weather like tornadoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis; I never thought it would happen in my own backyard – so to speak.
So, wherever you are in the world, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to appreciate the things you have and the positive and loving people who surround you. You just never know what tomorrow will bring. And I also hope you’ll consider donating to the Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org/) who, like many other organizations (like the IRC, UNICEF, and Salvation Army) do great work all around the world.
I will say, though, after 10+ years living in one of the greatest cities on earth, I know that New Yorkers will pick themselves right up and rebuild. And rebuild with style. We are resilient.
I also want to end this post by thanking all of my family and friends from as close as Union Square to as far away as New Hampshire (clearly, my friends aren’t far flung) for checking in on me. My parents in Jersey are fine, though still without power and most likely sore from clearing away all the branches that fell in their yard; and my sister and brother-in-law in Westchester are building a fire, as I type, in their new home to keep warm. My brother, who is also in this fine city, is pretty unscathed as well. I am grateful.